Federer beats Connors' mark, Djokovic wins

May 31, 2012, 18:47 IST | AFP

Roger Federer set a new record of 234 Grand Slam match wins yesterday to reach the French Open last 32 where he was joined by top seed Novak Djokovic whose date with tennis destiny edged a little closer.

Federer, the third seed, overcame a mid-match wobble to beat Romania’s Adrian Ungur 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, and go past Jimmy Connors’ long-standing record of 233 wins at the majors which he’d equalled in the first round.

Roger Federer acknowledges the crowd after his victory at Roland Garros yesterday. Pic/AFP

The 16-time Grand Slam title winner will face either Slovakia's Martin Klizan or Nicolas Mahut of France for a place in the last 16. The 27-year-old Ungur, the world No 92, knocked out Argentine veteran David Nalbandian in the first round on his Grand Slam debut, having failed to qualify for any major on 13 previous occasions.

He was swept aside on the first two sets on Wednesday, but once he had saved two match points in the third set tiebreaker, he came alive to take the second round clash to a fourth set. But normal service was soon resumed with Federer, playing in his 50th straight Grand Slam event, taking the match when the colourfully tattooed Ungur slapped a backhand return wide. 

Despite his third set hiccup, Federer said he always backed himself to win. “I expect myself to win and I usually manage to do it. It’s not like that at the start of your career when you think you are good enough but you are not that good yet,” said Federer.

Easy victory
Djokovic edged closer to Grand Slam history with a 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win over Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic. The world No 1, bidding to become only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, put down a gutsy challenge from world number 99 Kavcic. “I gave him the opportunity to come back after I had had a perfect first seven games,” said Djokovic. “But I expected him to fight. He had nothing to lose and he showed his fighting qualities.”

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